Toronto signs off on turning four sites into almost 1,000 affordable rental units

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140 merton st toronto
140 Merton St. site (Google Street View image)

By Robin MacLennan

Ontario Construction Report staff writer

An affordable housing plan is moving forward after the city’s realty agency signed off on business cases for four sites, but details are not publicly available.

The sites range in size and location, from a plot less than an acre in midtown Toronto to a sprawling eight acres at a site in North York. Two Scarborough locations measure seven and two acres.

Details are not being released to ensure future deals are not compromised, but according to the Star, when completed, the four projects are expected to close to 1,000 affordable rental units built on city-owned land.

Toronto’s rental apartment shortage greatest in Canada because of lack of inventory and soaring population: Report

Units will cost about $180,000 each, with financial incentives including reduced development charges and the value of the land being offered under 99-year leases, the CreateTO board heard last week.

The city is leveraging a total $100 million in land value by leasing the land to developers and then offering $71 million in additional financial incentives across the four sites, a city staff report says.

Four priority sites are included in the city’s Housing Now program, previously called Open Door — the main strategy aimed at building 40,000 new affordable units in the next 12 years.

All four four sites — 140 Merton St. in midtown, 777 Victoria Park Ave. in Scarborough, 705 Warden Ave. in Scarborough and 50 Wilson Heights Blvd. in North York — are close to subway stops, and the plan is for 33 per cent to 50 per cent of units to be affordable – no higher than 80 per cent of the city’s average market rent — a calculation done by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

In 2019, average market rent for Toronto was listed at $1,270 per month for a one-bedroom. Eighty per cent of that is $1,016 monthly while median rent for a one-bedroom in Toronto is $2,300.

The new units in the four sites are expected to be occupied in 2022.

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